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Features

Ott returns to Blues; Sobotka looking at KHL

Thursday, 07.10.2014 / 2:53 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- In a strange and surprising twist of events Thursday, the St. Louis Blues brought back a familiar face and might be about to lose another.

The Blues re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Steve Ott to a two-year, $5.2 million contract.

After the Blues signed free agent centers Paul Stastny and Jori Lehtera, it was thought that the Blues would move in a different direction. However, that changed St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong learned restricted free agent center Vladimir Sobotka was considering signing with a team in the Kontinental Hockey League.

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Roy says Avalanche could be better this season

Thursday, 07.10.2014 / 1:49 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

After watching the offseason moves made by the Colorado Avalanche, coach Patrick Roy believes his team may be better now than the one that finished first in the Central Division last season.

Speaking with media at a golf tournament in Quebec on Thursday, Roy lauded the acquisitions made by Colorado management, most notably the signing of veteran forward Jarome Iginla, and the trades made to acquire defenseman Brad Stuart from the San Jose Sharks and forward Daniel Briere from the Montreal Canadiens.

"The addition of Iginla for us is very important," Roy said. "I think he's going to help our younger players continue to grow. It's extremely positive. Brad Stuart on defense will provide stability. He's going to play some big minutes and can play with Erik Johnson on the top pair. We're very confident with these additions. I think we improved the team in an important way."

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Sharks' Hertl looking to improve on rookie season

Thursday, 07.10.2014 / 1:01 PM / NHL Insider

Eric Gilmore - NHL.com Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- Tomas Hertl's rookie season with the San Jose Sharks was packed with meteoric highs and devastating lows, each sudden change in elevation a valuable learning experience.

Hertl grabbed the national spotlight in his third NHL game when he scored four goals against the New York Rangers on Oct. 8, 2013 at SAP Center. He capped the performance with a between-the-legs, top-shelf goal.

Two months later, Hertl's Calder Trophy dreams came to an end when he damaged two ligaments in his right knee Dec. 19 in a collision with Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown. Hertl returned for the final two regular-season games and seven games in the Sharks' loss to the Kings in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We found out a lot about Tomas when things were going good, but we also found out a lot of things about him when things weren't so good," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday during development camp. "His commitment to his rehab and to getting back into the lineup was exceptional, his want to play with his teammates in the playoffs. He showed us a lot of real positives through the bad times as much as through the good times last year
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Gudbranson, Panthers agree on two-year contract

Thursday, 07.10.2014 / 11:36 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Defenseman Erik Gudbranson agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Financial details were not released.

"Erik is an important part of our young core of talented players who we are pleased to have signed," general manager Dale Tallon told the Panthers website. "He is a big, strong and physical defenseman who is one of the building blocks for our team. We look forward to his continued development and his contributions to the South Florida community."

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Senators re-sign forward Grant

Thursday, 07.10.2014 / 11:33 AM / NHL Free Agency 2014

NHL.com

Forward Derek Grant signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators, the team  announced Thursday. Financial details were not revealed, but multiple media outlets reported it at $700,000 if he's in the NHL and $85,000 in the American Hockey League.

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Burakovsky ready to challenge for spot with Capitals

Thursday, 07.10.2014 / 3:00 AM / NHL Insider

Adam Vingan - NHL.com Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Life was a series of adjustments for Andre Burakovsky last season.

In migrating to the Ontario Hockey League from Sweden, the Erie Otters forward and Washington Capitals prospect thrust himself into a completely foreign situation.

His schedule became consumed by hockey, leaving him with little free time outside the rink. On the ice the smaller playing surface presented its own challenges, particularly when it came to proper positioning and keeping pace with the speed of the game.

Burakovsky, attending Washington's development camp this week, characterized his first several games with Erie as "really, really bad."

"I was wondering how I could play so well the year before then come over here and nothing really worked for me," he said. "It takes time to learn the game. You don't just learn it one day. It takes weeks."

To those around him, though, whatever struggles he may have had were negligible.

"If he had problems at the beginning," Erie coach Kris Knoblauch said, "he didn't show them."

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Over the Boards: Expectations rise for Lightning

Thursday, 07.10.2014 / 3:00 AM / Over the Boards

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Jon Cooper walked right into the question. And he knew it too.

Cooper, the coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, was talking about going through the stages in his career that led him to the 2014 NHL Awards as a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. He was talking about doubting himself at each stage, overcoming the insecurity and realizing he can deliver the goods and hang with the best coaches in the business, because right now he is one of them.

"In the big picture this year I feel confident that I belong," Cooper said.

As soon as he stopped talking, the following question came at him fast. It was about the next stage, which has to be winning in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Cooper smiled and laughed, and then he agreed.

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Veteran Heatley glad to get chance with Ducks

Wednesday, 07.09.2014 / 9:01 PM / NHL Free Agency 2014

Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Dany Heatley is 33 years old with an impressive scoring resume, but he knows he might not get many more opportunities like this. His numbers are on the decline and his legs aren't what they used to be.

Sometimes it just takes the right fit to reboot a career, though, and the Anaheim Ducks might be that match for Heatley, who signed a one-year, $1 million contract Wednesday.
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Devils coach expects Schneider to thrive as No. 1

Wednesday, 07.09.2014 / 7:35 PM / NHL Insider

NHL.com

New Jersey Devils coach Peter DeBoer says nobody in the NHL is more deserving of the chance he's about to get than Cory Schneider.

Schneider will enter 2014-15 as the Devils' undisputed No. 1 goalie, armed with a multiyear contract extension he signed Wednesday.

"This guy more than anybody in the organization and maybe in the League deserves that opportunity," DeBoer told Northjersey.com on Tuesday. "He's waited for the opportunity. He's done all the right things. I'm really looking forward [to] the level he can get to playing 60, 65 games."

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Tappen to join NBC Sports Group, continue on NHLN

Wednesday, 07.09.2014 / 3:11 PM / NHL Network

NHL Network host Kathryn Tappen is joining NBC Sports Group, where she will appear on NHL coverage and a variety of other sports programming. Tappen will serve as a host for NHL Live and NHL Overtime, NBC Sports Group's pregame, intermission, and postgame NHL studio programs.

Tappen will continue to appear on NHL Network, where she has served as the lead host of its flagship studio show, NHL Tonight, since 2011. Tappen will provide coverage of the League's signature events, including the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Game, Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, as well as other NHL Network programs.

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Quote of the Day

It's really exciting. I'm pretty sure that when I play my first game I'm going to be emotional. To be back on the ice playing a game, being in game situations, with all the routines and rituals I do before games and during the game, I feel like I'm going to be emotional. I'm going to be really happy.

— Montreal Canadiens forward Tim Bozon on playing for the first time since his life-threaning illness